As Zika cases rise in U.P., doctors urge travel curbs

Over 90 cases reported from State; Delhi on alert

Published - November 08, 2021 08:23 pm IST - NEW DELHI

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 25, 2016 an Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever viruses, is photographed on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) in Cali, Colombia. - Hunger, drought and disease will afflict tens of millions more people within decades, according to a draft UN assessment that lays bare the dire human health consequences of a warming planet. As the warming planet expands habitable zones for mosquitos and other disease-carrying species, half the world's population could be exposed to vector-borne pathogens such as dengue, yellow fever and zika virus by mid-century. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 25, 2016 an Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever viruses, is photographed on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) in Cali, Colombia. - Hunger, drought and disease will afflict tens of millions more people within decades, according to a draft UN assessment that lays bare the dire human health consequences of a warming planet. As the warming planet expands habitable zones for mosquitos and other disease-carrying species, half the world's population could be exposed to vector-borne pathogens such as dengue, yellow fever and zika virus by mid-century. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

With a rise in the number of Zika virus cases in Uttar Pradesh, doctors have advised that people should avoid all non-essential travel to areas reporting cases. Currently close to 90 persons, including 17 children, have tested positive for the virus from the State.

According to information released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a majority of those infected with Zika virus disease either remain asymptomatic (up to 80%) or show mild symptoms of fever, rash, conjunctivitis, body ache, joint pains. The mosquito that transmits the Zika virus, the Aedes Aegypti , also transmits the dengue virus and is widely prevalent in India.

With no vaccine or drug available to prevent or treat Zika virus disease at present, doctors have said that Zika infections should be suspected in patients reporting with acute onset of fever, maculo-papular rash, among those individuals who travelled to areas with ongoing transmission during the two weeks preceding the onset of illness. Based on the available information of previous outbreaks, severe forms of disease requiring hospitalisation are uncommon and fatalities are rare.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had in its previous travel advisory said non-essential travel to the affected areas/ countries should be deferred/ cancelled and pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant should defer/ cancel their travel to the affected areas. Encouraging the use of protective measures, especially during day, the NCDC added that persons with comorbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory illness, immune disorders etc) should seek advice from the nearest health facility, prior to travel to an affected country.

Delhi Medical Association member Dr. Anil Bansal said, “There is no specific medicine for Zika virus disease and self-medication should be avoided. Also people should avoid using aspirin for treating fever and use paracetamol. Travel to areas that are seeing a rise in Zika cases is best avoided.”

The Union Health Ministry has also advised that people should prevent/control mosquito breeding and for personal protection should use bed-net at home and hospital to prevent mosquito bite so as to interrupt transmission.

On 8 July 2021, a single Zika virus (ZIKV) infection case was laboratory-confirmed in Kerala. Later that same month Maharashtra also reported its first Zika laboratory-confirmed case from Pune district.

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